Friday, December 22, 2006

Forgotten Communication Scholars

The October 2006 issue of Javnost: The Public is devoted to "the notion of a forgotten (or neglected) literature in the field of communication studies," as issue editor Hanno Hardt states in the issue's introduction. Scholars and their works include: Erich Fromm's The Sane Society; Herbert Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man; Hugh Dalziel Duncan and symbolic interactionism; Harrold Innis; Jeremy Turnstall's Journalists at Work; and Ludovico Silva. Available in ASC Library only.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Journal: The Senses & Society

The Senses & Society, begun in 2006, is now available from the Penn Library webpage and also in paper in the ASC Library. The November issue has just arrived and includes a lead article on Coney Island (Fantasy Lands and Kinesthetic Thrills: Sensorial Consumption, the Shock of Modernity and Spectacle as Total-Body Experience at Coney Island), followed by articles on gardening (as in: The Sensory Dimensions of), Javanese Kroncong music, and Ipods. The journal is edited by Paul Gilroy (London School of Economics), David Howes (Concordia University), and Douglas Kahn (University of California, Davis) who wrote a nice set-up piece for the whole endeavor in the first issue. From Introducing Sensory Studies:

"The appearance of The Senses and Society is a sign of the sensual revolution in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. This "revolution" has disclosed the starting multiplicity of different formations of the senses in history and across (as well as within) cultures. The sensorium (meaning: "the entire perceptual apparatus as an operational complex") is an ever-shifting social and historical construct. The perceptual is cultural and political, and not simply (as psychologists and neurobiologists would have it) a matter of cognitive processes or neurological mechanisms located in the individual subject.

In addition to loosening psychology's grip on the study of perception, the emergent focus on the social life of the senses is rapidly supplanting older paradigms of cultural interpretation (e.g. cultures as "texts" or "discourses", as "worldviews" or "pictures"), and challenging conventional theories of representation. The senses mediate the relationship between self and society, mind and body, idea and object. The senses are everywhere. Thus, sensation (as opposed to but inclusive of representations in different media) is fundamental to our experience of reality, and the sociality of sensation cries out for more concerted attention from cultural studies scholars.

While providing an antidote to the logocentrism and ocularcentrism of conventional historical and social scientific accounts of "meaning", The Senses and Society will also help to problematize the increasingly homogenized version of "the body" in contemporary scholarship by advocating a modal and intermodal or relational approach to the study of our corporeal faculties. This relational focus will disrupt the presumption of the unity of the body (which has simply taken over from the modernist presumption of the unity of the subject) by highlighting the differential elaboration of the senses in diverse times and places, and underscoring the multiple forms of human sensuousness."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2007 Digital Future Report

Just released from the University of Southern California-Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future is the 2007 Digital Future Report, the Center's sixth report. So far, six years of these highly anticipated reports (2000-2003 as the UCLA Internet Report) have tracked the emergence of broadband at home, on-line media, the wireless Internet, the rise of e-commerce, blogging and much more. This year's findings reveal a stunning 43 percent of users surveyed claiming they now value their "online communities" as much as they value their "real-world" communities, a stat Jeffrey Cole, director of the USC-Annenberg, considers a significant benchmark in web history.

Right now at the site you can access highlights from the report or purchase the whole thing. Previous reports are available for free.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003

Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003 , a report released in September 2006 by Mathew DeBell and Chris Chapman by the National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences has just been released.

Authors' Abstract:
This report examines the use of computers and the Internet by American children enrolled in nursery school and students in kindergarten through grade 12. The report examines the overall rate of use (that is, the percentage of individuals in the population who are users), the ways in which students use the technologies, where the use occurs (home, school, and other locations), and the relationships of these aspects of computer and Internet use to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as students' age and race/ethnicity and their parents' education and family income. This report confirms that patterns of computer and Internet use seen in previous research are observed in more recent data. One of the more important findings presented in the report is that schools appear to help narrow the disparities between different types of students in terms of computer use. Differences in the rates of computer use are smaller at school than they are at home when considering such characteristics as race/ethnicity, family income, and parental education.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Educational Use of Media: Exemptions to the DMCA

The Librarian of Congress has just accepted a request for exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that was filed by University of Pennsylvania professors Katherine Sender (Communication), Peter Decherney (Cinema Studies) and Michael X. Delli Carpini (Annenberg School for Communication Dean). The exemption allows media and film professors to copy clips from DVDs in a university media or film department's collection. This is a deliberately narrow class of users, but the hope is to build upon this for the next round.

Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) prohibits the circumvention of encryption on all digital media. It is violation of the DMCA, for example, to make a digital copy of a DVD, because doing so would require breaking the copy protection.
The Librarian of Congress has the power to create exemptions to section 1201 in order to protect fair use. Every three years, the Copyright Office reviews requests for exemptions and makes recommendations to the Librarian of Congress.

As a result of the 2006 round of exemption requests, the Librarian of Congress created an exemption for film and media studies professors who need to create clips for use in their classes. The exemption applies to any media stored in the library of a film or media studies department.

The official exemption is for:
Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.

This exemption is in effect from November 27, 2006 - October 27, 2009.

Questions? Contact Peter Decherney at

Relevant Documents
Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
Comment filed by Peter Decherney, Katherine Sender and Michael X. Delli Carpini
Reply comments submitted by Decherney, Sender and Delli Carpini
Recommendation of the Copyright Office
Federal Register Notice Announcing Exemptions

Useful Links
US Copyright Office Anticircumvention Rulemaking Harvard Law Digital Learning Case Study

International Communication Association
Society for Cinema and Media Studies

December CommQuote

"Photographs always say more than what their protagonists wish them to express. Protagonists make gestural statements. Pictures surround these statements with a running murmur of clues. These clues add themselves to the displayed gestures. They wrap themselves around them. They grow on them like a dense foliage. They provide a running voice-over. "

--Daniel Dayan from "The House" in Diaspora: Homelands in Exile (Voices), by Frederic Brenner

photo: Kyle Cassidy, Letters from Bucharest, 2001

Monday, December 04, 2006

Featuring The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History

The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, part of Duke University's Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, holds an extensive collection of over 3,000,000 items — correspondence, publications, advertisements, photographs, slides, films, books and serials — that document the history and societal impact of advertising, sales, and marketing over the past two centuries. In addition to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, the most comprehensive historical record of any advertising agency, the Center contains the collections of other key companies and individuals in the fields of advertising, marketing and sales.

Special Projects at the Hartman Center
Ad*AccessAn image database of over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
Emergence of Advertising in AmericaA database of over 9,000 advertising items and publications (1850 - 1920), illustrating the rise of consumer culture, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry.
Medicine and Madison AvenueA database of over 600 health-related advertisements printed between 1911 and 1958, as well as 35 selected historical documents relating to health-related advertising.
ROAD: Resource of Outdoor Advertising DescriptionsA database of over 50,000 descriptions of images of outdoor advertising dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, pulled from four outdoor advertising collections including the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). No images are available from this website.

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